Scott Riggs and Boris Said press conference Talladega Superspeedway Scott Riggs -- ...
Scott Riggs and Boris Said press conference
Scott Riggs -- #10 Valvoline Chevrolet -- 4th position
Two top 5 starts in last year's Talladega races
Boris Said -- #36 Centrix Financial Chevrolet -- 12th position
Third start of the season. Leaving for the 24 Hours of the Nurburgring on Tuesday for an endurance sports car race.
WHAT ARE YOUR CHANCES FOR THE RACE?
Riggs: I know we have a good car for Talladega. We proved that yesterday by being pretty fast and qualifying in the top 5. We just need to finish in the top 5. The last three races have been pretty tough for this team. We haven't been in the top 10 the last three races and that's something that was one of our goals in the beginning of the season, that we weren't going to go three races without a top 10, and we did it, unfortunately. We have our minds focused on having a really good, solid finish here and looking for a top 5. I think if we can take care of our car and not get it too banged up like Daytona, hopefully it will be straight and all the fenders on it will be straight when it comes to the checkered flag so we'll have a good, solid finish.
YOU'RE LEAVING FOR A RACE AT ONE OF THE BIGGEST TRACKS IN THE WORLD, WHILE TALLADEGA IS THE BIGGEST CIRCUIT ON THE NASCAR SCHEDULE. TELL US ABOUT THE DIFFERENCE IN THE FANS
Said: The funny thing about it is that there really is no difference in the fans. There's 250,000 fans there and they are just as crazy as the fans here. The only difference is they're speaking a different language and they have different labels on their beer bottles.
WHICH LANGUAGE IS EASIER TO UNDERSTAND?
Said: I better not say it, but sometimes over there! I better not say that. No, but there is a lot of English over there but it's definitely more fun to hear people speak.I like the way people speak over here, personally.
I think so. I still plan on being patient. At Daytona it was my first time. For the first 30 or 40 laps I was scared..well, that word Dale Jr. used. But, you know, by the end of the race I felt really comfortable and I was having a great time. You know, the Centrix team has given me such a great car. Hendrick motors, everything they have. I have a winning car but I'm probably-hopefully-at top 20 driver. So, you know, this race I'm still going to kind of take it like a 24 hour race. Patient, a lot more give and take and comfortable with the fact that I'll probably get drop kicked to the back a couple of times. And, you know, I've watched these races a lot over the past couple of years and it's kind of like a cycle. You watch these guys go front to back the whole race and hopefully by the end of the race I'll be more aggressive and be at the right end of the cycle.
WE'VE BEEN TOLD QUALIFYING DOESN'T COUNT. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT?
Riggs: Well, I know that every time our cars qualified well-not every time, but a couple of times-the car still didn't draft very well. Luckily we qualified good at Daytona and we got into practice and that same car drafted really well, sucked up really well. I feel a lot better about my chances not only qualifying well and knowing our car is going to draft well versus where DEI sits right now in the back and looking like we might not even get a chance to see how they do in the draft. I mean, they have a lot of experience. I guess running up front a lot like they have, in the past, restrictor plate races teach you a lot about where to move your car and where to position yourself. I think that even if their cars aren't dominant like they have been in the past, I think they still will wind out being up front and leading the race at some point during this race. Now, if they are strong enough to stay up there and block everybody.they used to play games with us. Get up there and wait for the next one to get up to them, then they'd hook up together and then the race is over. They'd just make sure they got out of the pits first and second and they'd race amongst themselves. I don't think that's going to happen anymore. I think that other teams have caught up including ourselves, I think Hendrick's. Roush-Yates motor combination motor packages catch up even more. I think that the qualifying does mean something about your car. I think that, like I said, qualifying well and not drafting well is not good. I've never been on the other foot and not qualified very well like they have and say that, 'Man, my car sure does draft great.' A lot of people say that, but I have not yet experienced that. I like my chances better.
BORIS, HOW MUCH DOES IT HURT YOU THAT THESE OTHER DRIVERS DO THIS EVERY WEEK AND YOU ONLY HAVE THE CHANCE TO RACE INFREQUENTLY IN A CUP CAR?
Said: It definitely hurts me. The guys that do this week in and week out, like Scott, they are so comfortable in these cars and they put them on like a comfortable pair of shoes or gloves. I still doing a little bit of racing where I do some lighter cars. It definitely takes a little bit to get used to it, but hopefully if I keep doing a good job with it, maybe next year I'll get to do it every week like these guys.
DO YOU THINK THERE IS A BETTER WAY TO QUALIFY?
Said: I don't know. I'm not that smart on how to run these things. One thing I can say is yesterday we went out and did some autographs for the Alabama Hellen Keller school and the amount of traffic that was here for qualifying, to watch this, the fans seemed to like. It's entertainment and they like it, so why not take four hours? At a track like this, my friends all called me and said, 'Yeah, you qualified twelfth!' It's hard to explain to some people that, you know, a chimp can fly a rocket. When you're in a really good car here, it's not that hard. You could probably run my car as fast as I did. So that's a little hard to teach the masses. But yesterday seeing how the fans. They seemed to like it.
Riggs: As far as trying to speed it up, there would be so many other problems that would show up with that. Even if you tried to put two cars on the track at the same time, I know that you need at least eight seconds between the cars to not affect each other. Even if you put two cars on the track, we can fit a good four cars on the track in practice and not affect each other. Even if you just put two cars on the track, somebody would slow down or wouldn't get up to speed, or slow down too fast after their lap and somebody behind them would complain. There's just too many stipulations that would come up and I think they'd be opening a pretty big can of worms.
Said: But, road racing, you know, we usually just split the field in half and do two 20-minute sessions with the whole field out there. That would be pretty wild. Just have drafting qualifying. Change it up.
HOW MUCH EASIER IS IT FOR YOU THIS YEAR WITH YOUR CARS COMPARED TO LAST YEAR WHEN YOU WERE STRUGGLING?
Riggs: Last year was definitely difficult for me because every weekend I went to the track, I didn't know which direction the car was going to dart, what it was going to do, what this was going to feel compared to last week. Yes, it's easier this year to know that your cars a lot more comfortable and you know you have all the pieces of the puzzle to be competitive, but it's still just as frustrating to leave the track. I mean, I left Vegas, California and Texas with 31st, 32nd and 32nd place finish and I know that these three tracks, I know we had our best car. I know that we had a car that could have easily finished in the top 5 and we didn't do it. Some of that was my fault, making mistakes too early, like at Texas. It's still frustrating. It's still frustrating, like at Martinsville, we qualify on the pole and then we back up and finish 21st or something like that. It's still frustrating for me because I still want to be competitive. I'm not going to say it's a lot easier. It's easier going to the race track knowing that you got a shot. That you truly got a shot to win the race, and that feels better. But, it's just as frustrating leaving the race when you didn't have a good finish and you know you could, but you didn't. That's more frustrating right now.
DO YOU BEAT YOURSELF UP OVER THAT?
Riggs: I don't doubt myself, but I've been beating myself up pretty good. I know that, especially at Texas. Besides my Dad telling me that I look like a rookie and that I did something stupid and didn't pace myself and told me that he wasn't going to go to anymore races if I was going to drive like that. Besides getting beat up by my worst critic, my Dad, I knew that I had a good car and instead of being patient, I just saw a chance to drive to the front and I was trying to do it in 10 laps and it was just stupid. It is frustrating. But we went to Phoenix last week and we qualified about 16th and we're in the top 10 in practice. The bad part was, I felt the car was so good in practice. All of a sudden we dropped the green flag and I was in the middle of the pack and my car was junk. We made huge changes in the pit stops to try to help it. We even made a shock change under one pit stop to try to help the car. That's where I really beat myself up over things like that, where I beat myself up over the car and I should have complained or been more aggressive to try to get more out of it. And then, all of a sudden, we start the race and what I thought was good was junk. It might have to do with practicing by yourself versus practicing in clean air or practicing in the pack like you needed to. It's still pretty frustrating not getting the finishes.
Said: And if you look at this organization, I still feel like an outsider looking in. NASCAR has been dominated by these superteams: Hendrick, Roush, Yates, Ray Evernham, teams like that. This team a few years ago was a single car team and you know, Jay Fry (General Manager) has taken this team. It was all mapped out on how good it's getting. They are contending to be one of those top A superteams and they've done that in a very short time. And a lot of it is the organization, bringing it together and bringing Scott on and Joe and the crew chiefs and the engineering program and the partnership with Hendrick on the motors. It's pretty amazing to see what that whole organization has done over a short period of time. Considering how long it took guys like Jack Roush and Rick Hendrick. It's a hard sport.
CHEVROLET HAS TWELVE STRAIGHT WINS. DO THEY STILL HAVE AN EDGE HERE?
Riggs: It's hard to say. I don't know. This is only our second year of being a Chevrolet team. We've had a good car ever since we built our first Chevrolet. We had a good speedway car and it's just continued to get better. I see other Chevrolets that struggle, so I'm proud of my guys that give me a good Chevrolet. I can't really say, without looking at everyone's notes, understanding what kind of drag is one their cars. Easier way to build a less drag on a Chevrolet than there is on a Ford or a Dodge? It would have to be seen. I can't say it's an advantage. I just think you have some really good teams that happen to be in Chevrolets that are really doing well. Not to slight Chevrolet do at all, because Chevrolet works and helps the teams a lot in trying to help all their teams in a pretty big way with their support effort. But I think there are a lot of good teams. I think you could take all the good teams and throw them in different cars and I bet within a year, you'd have the same teams driving to the top and they're in a different car, a different body, a different make. I think it's just that Chevrolet has some good teams.
OBSERVATIONS ABOUT YOUR OTHER TEAMMATES
Riggs: The entire team is still doing the thing they did last year. I just think they've had some crummy luck, to be honest with you. A lot of things that we faced through our season last year, even when we had pretty good cars, we would have things go wrong that would cost us dearly for a good finish. I think Joe was leading California on his way to a great finish, if not a win, and the engine let go. I think that they just had some pretty bad luck. I think they've missed a couple of times. I think the reason you see them not qualifying up front like they have at a speedway race, this race, because they lost their best car in the 150 at Daytona. So, this is their backup car. I think it's going to draft a little bit better than when it qualified sort of like DEI, but I think they still don't have the kind of car they lost in the 150s. I think they're still doing things right over there. I think and I hope that seeing how much our team is running, that when Joe and those guys do get a break on the luck side of things, that it's going to help my team and their team be better.